Roster Analysis: Defensive End

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Background

Arrowhead Guys has decided to analyze the roster, position by position, heading into the draft in order to identify gaps in the projected roster that will need to be addressed via the draft, UDFA’s, or FA signings. In order to predict the number of players that will make the final roster per position we analyzed trends for the Kansas City Chiefs offense from 2016-2018 and the New York Giants from 2007-2008 and 2017 to determine number of offensive and defensive players kept at each position.

The predicted roster numbers will be used in reviewing the players currently under contract at their projected positions in order to identify the positions of greatest need. This series will feature one position per day for 10 consecutive days, yes that means the weekend, culminating in a road map to identifying the Chiefs areas of need.

Currently Under Contract: 5

92 Tanoh Kpass DE246′ 7″289 lbs3Villanova
90Emmanuel OgbahDE256′ 4″275 lbs4Oklahoma State
57Alex OkaforDE286′ 4″261 lbs7Texas
57Breeland Speaks DE256′ 3″285 lbs4Ole Miss
69 Rob McCray DE236′ 2″280 lbs1Indiana

Projected Roster Spots: 5

Much like Defensive Tackle, Defensive End was fairly consistent year to year under Steve Spagnuolo. During the years reviewed he carried 5 DE’s twice and 4 one time. Defensive line as a whole accounted for 9-10 roster spots each year.

Who makes the Cut?

Breeland Speaks, Alex Okafor, Tanoh Kpassagnon and probably Emmanuel Ogbah are destined to make the roster. Obviously the talent level among them leaves a lot to be desired so don’t be shocked if one misses the cut to make room for someone picked in the first three rounds.

Position Overview

Defensive end/EDGE has gone from a strength to somewhat of a weakness for the Chiefs in a matter of months. The team traded Dee Ford to the 49ers and cut Justin Houston who ended up signing with the Colts. They traded for Ogbah and signed Okafor in free agency, but that’s obviously still a step down from what they had last year.

The development of Kpassagnon and Speaks is going to be vitally important to this group. They’re going to be asked to be major contributors this season and hopefully they’re up for the challenge.

Realistically the talent at this position isn’t near good enough to replicate what it accomplished last year even with the schematic changes that will be made this season.

It is more than likely that the Chiefs look to improve at the position through the draft with one of their first four picks. They don’t own a fourth-round pick as of this moment so it’s safe to safe if they do draft an EDGE player it’ll be with one of those picks.

Roster Analysis

The Chiefs are going to draft someone to help fill the talent void at the position, and realistically they can’t afford to wait past round three to do it. Okafor and most likely Speaks are your top two guys going into camp, and then Ogbah and Kpassagnon are to follow. If the Chiefs were to trade up and take a Montez Sweat or Brian Burns (who realistically wouldn’t fall past 15) then that could shake some things up.

Even with the likelihood that the Chiefs are going to go to a more technical pass rush approach with more twists, stunts etc. they still need that guy that’s talented enough to where he doesn’t need games up front to win his match up.

Prospects to Consider

Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State 

Jachai Polite, DE, Florida 

Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan 

Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

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Berserker
Berserker

I hope Ansah passes his physical, and I hope we sign him. That would solve a lot of problems.

Or, I guess we could trade for Frank Clark. I’ve got my doubts about him, though. And, from a philosophical standpoint, I don’t like trading significant draft capital for expensive veterans.

Tyrone
Tyrone

Reid should be all over him
comment image

Berserker
Berserker

If we sign him, then we could finally CUT SORENSEN!

KC_SunDevil
KC_SunDevil

The need at DE is huge. Probably equal to the need at LB in the front 7

The need for a real #1 CB (not a Nelson style poster child) in coverage is also equal to the need for a LB

Put those together and the need for a LB is clearly highest

KCChef
KCChef

Yeah … I’d take Any of those first 4 …Don’t Bother to Gift Wrap …We’ll be wearing them home … : )

tsv0728
tsv0728

This group is the definition of below average. There isn’t a single guy in the bunch that excites anyone, probably even themselves. I don’t know schematically what the plan is, but if it doesn’t involve talented playmakers on the edge, it is probably a dumbass plan. This isn’t to say I disagree with the decision to release Houston and trade Ford (though if I were GMing, I likely keep Houston 1 more year), but damn is there a significant lack of talent. Hopefully Speaks is hard at work this offseason changing 15lbs of fat ass into lean muscle, and learning to move his feet like a grown up. KPass is definitely better suited to this position than wide 9, but there is no real reason to believe he’ll be effective. There is mostly just hope in this position group. Hope is a bad strategy. I do like Okafor, but only because he is stable and consistent, not because he is explosive or game breaking.

KCChef
KCChef

AR Lubbs him some ” Wide 9 ” though … : (

Anthony Stratton

yada yada scheme pressure yada yada

CHIEFSandSABRES

This position group has to be our first round pick. This is the least inspiring bunch on the entire team. I’m still not very high on our linebackers or secondary either, but if we do not upgrade here, expect to see 7 to 9 yard runs on first down every opposing series.

tsv0728
tsv0728

I gotta disagree. Our LB’s are definitely worse than our edge players. Which is a problem, because our edge players are not good.

CHIEFSandSABRES

I can respect that. I’m no defensive guru like Tre and Daniel around here, but if the edge players, IMO could at least get a hand on a running back, typically the LB can come up and help plug the hole. Now you are 100% correct our LB’s are terrible, because they can’t tackle or wrap up. I hate last years defense. Save for Chris Jones, K. Fuller. I’m also starting to like DOD and Watts more.

Daniel Harms

The front seven just needs to read and react better than last year. Even Jones isn’t great in run defense, they just need to mind their gap responsibilities and keep the LBs clean. That will help make up for their lack of talent a bit

Lars
Lars

Our edge players were not good outside LBS, I’m gonna be optimistic about them as DEs until they show me otherwise.

Daniel Harms

The problem with that is that they will spend more time in Nickel than any other defensive formation, most likely. Outside of Jones the Chiefs have no one that can consistently win one on one battles in the trenches. The talent just isn’t there

Lars
Lars

Maybe we won’t be in nickle so much now that Bob is gone? New schemes and such. Even if we are, we still need DBs who can keep the play in front of them and faster LBs who can tackle, I dont expect our D as a whole to be fixed in 1 offseason, Which upgraded part would cover the weaknesses of the others the most?

Daniel Harms

The LB core lol if the Chiefs had a good overall LB core that would help everything

Anthony Stratton

Its not so simple though. While I agree LB is the absolute worst position group on the team, and probably one of the worst 4-5 in the entire NFL, you still have to weigh importance of the position. Which has a bigger impact on the game?

I think EDGE beats out LB every time. However the depth at DE is of better quality, so that edges LB up a little bit. I think MLB is a huge need, but I doubt that we draft one high because we have so much invested in Hitchens (and he’s the one needing replaced the most).

Lars
Lars

Looks like a decent building block to me. Chiefs might could add another DE early, but I’d go fast LBs and better DBs with all our early picks. I’d love to get Devin Bush in the first, and Chauncey Gardner Johnson and Amani Oruwariye in the 2nd….If any of them are there at our picks? I like Jalen Jelks from Oregon as a project DE.

ChiefZed
ChiefZed

Ferrell is a good player with some great rush moves, but he doesn’t look especially agile to me. He often beat his OL only to see the QB spin away from him. I still would be happy to draft him, but would definitely not trade up to do so.

One guy I would trade up for is Brian Burns. He seems to combine both athleticism and technical skill. If he’s still available around 18, say, I’d see if some team is willing to trade.

Berserker
Berserker

I agree about Ferrell. I really want to like him, but I think he’s most likely going to be a lot like Okafor – dependable, but not much of a playmaker. It’s good to have those types of guys, but right now we really need just one playmaker.

zulu trader
zulu trader

Last year Ferrell recorded 55 tackles with 11.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss, four passes batted and three forced fumbles during 2018. Returning to school for 2018 looks like it was a wise decision on his part, because he improved in his run defense and was more stout at the point of attack. He’s a monster!
looks like a playmaker to me

Berserker
Berserker

Yeah, I really like him, and I think he will be a valuable asset both on and off the field over the course of a long career. It’s just that I think we might already have a guy just like that with Okafor….

Of course it wouldn’t be bad to have TWO guys like that, and I wouldn’t cry one bit if we drafted Ferrell. But I do hope we get something we don’t already have instead, like for instance a fast middle linebacker…

stjoechief
stjoechief

If one of the current DE’s is cut it would likely be KPass since the other three are al recent Veach acquisitions. But I doubt if they bring in more than one serious contender for a roster spot.

Berserker
Berserker

Tanoh is the big question, isn’t he? Did he just not get along with Bob? Or is he just not a good football player? Does Spags, who supposedly likes tall Dlinemen, maybe see him in a JPP role? Or does Spags want to clean the slate?

KC_SunDevil
KC_SunDevil

+1